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Showing posts from July, 2014

Signal to Noise

If you have something in your heart to do, you should do it. - Terry Bozzio
I remember talking to Terry Bozzio years ago when I was considering going the solo percussion route. I was tired of dealing with bands, and also had this idea for something so different, so radical from anything I had done before. He was extremely encouraging. Buoyed by the support of Terry, and many other percussion friends, I did just that and haven't looked back.
And so it is, we are often bombarded by others telling us what to do: "You should get a real job," or, "You can make more money in a cover/tribute band." Now mind you, I'm not saying don't get a real job (whatever that is), or don't play in a cover band, as these might be your aspirations. Each of us is different. Each of us has different ideas about music and our own personal musical goals. What I am saying is that while other people will be quick to tell you what you should do, you need to listen to yourself. Wha…

The Nature of Improvisation

Creativity - Part 4

Improvisation is always a roll of the dice. On one hand, you can have all the best ideas but be paired up with the wrong partners. On the other hand, you can be with ideal people and have no ideas. But if you're aware, and in the moment, there is a chance for a spark to arise and things to take off.

"I learned at a very young age that music teaches you about life. When you're in the midst of improvisation, there is no yesterday and no tomorrow — there is just the moment that you are in. In that beautiful moment, you experience your true insignificance to the rest of the universe. It is then, and only then, that you can experience your true significance." Charlie Haden

Another aspect is how you approach improvisation. You can play it safe and fall back on a set of well worn cliches (and we all have our cliches we like to play), or you can take things out and walk the edge, putting yourself in danger. One of my favorite quotes is from the great Germanic…

The Nature of Creativity

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Creativity - Part 3

The essence of music tells us that we are the true instruments. It does not matter what
equipment we have. It can be rooms full of expensive percussion, or a simple hand drum.
The music comes from inside ourselves and will find a way to express itself on whatever
instruments we have at our disposal. Many of us get stuck on the idea that “If only I had
that new drum/ cymbal/ drum kit, then I could really playl” If you follow this line of
thinking, then you could always be saying that, as there are continually new products to
entice us. This becomes an endless loop of wanting/getting/wanting again. 

It’s important to
realise that wherever we are now, we have enough equipment to do something, to create
something from our hearts. Yes, our vision may include something we don’t have, but it is
important to go on anyway. We may find that we don’t need what we thought we needed, or that the
process of creating and working will lead us to what we need. Often what we see as
limitations, …

Start Here

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Creativity - Part 2

Even with many and various suggestions, the question still is, "Where do I start?"


Start here —> •  Right where you are.
Really. That's it. Just look at where you are and plunge in. Don't worry if it's right or wrong, good or bad, just do it. For me, starting is always the most difficult part. But it's sort of like uncorking a bottle. It might take some effort to get the cork out, but once the bottle is open, things can flow easily. "But I don't know…" Yes, there will always be "buts," and indecision, and panic, and a sense of fear that you might make a big mistake. This is monkey mind sitting on your shoulder, whispering in your ear. "You're a fake." "You have no talent." "Who are you trying to fool." "People will hate it." These are all just monkey mind getting in our way of starting.


Monkey Mind is a Buddhist term meaning "unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical;…